- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—SAN JOSE — San Jose police plan to flood high-crime areas with additional officers following an exceptionally violent weekend in the city, punctuated by the killing of two men in separate shootings.

Besides the shootings that claimed the lives of the two men, the city saw four other shootings and a disturbing case where a man was arrested after stabbing and allegedly trying to rape three women on a single stretch of road.

“The intensity of the violent crimes over the weekend prompted our chief officers to come up with a strategy to address the spike in crime,” police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.

To that end, by Wednesday, police brass hope to deploy more officers into crime hot spots in the city, drawing from overtime shifts and redeploying the special-operations division to help with the suppression efforts.

“We’re going to look at the crime trends, figure out the pattern,” Garcia said. “We have to put a stop to this.”

Garcia said it hasn’t been decided how long the heavier deployment will last, adding the department will “increase staffing levels until we get control of the situation.”

The weekend capped a stretch in San Jose that recorded eight homicides since the end of June. Up to that point, there had been eight in the whole first half of the year, all in the first three months. It made the recent streak of deadly violence appear more pronounced because of the respite the city experienced beforehand.

No new information has been released on two deadly shootings in East San Jose: Friday evening near a mobile-home park on Oakbridge Drive that killed a man; and late Saturday night on Sunbeam Circle that claimed the life of a 19-year-old man in an attack that police believe involved attackers fueled by gang ties.

Additionally, the homicide count rose to 16 when police on Monday revealed a victim attacked May 15 died from undisclosed injuries within the last two weeks, retroactively making that case the 14th homicide of the year, and the weekend victims the 15th and 16th.

On top of the weekend killings, four people were shot and wounded across the city, and a man was arrested early Sunday after police say he attacked three separate women with a knife in apparent sexual-assault attempts on Monterey Road. Two victims who came forward and have been identified were expected to survive.

Still, even with those 16 homicides as of Sunday, the city is on pace for one of its lowest annual tallies in the past decade. That period has also seen a slight overall decline in the violent-crime rate, which ironically was higher during the mid-2000s when San Jose routinely earned billing as the safest large city in the country.

But in the current moment, seven killings in four weeks is a disturbing trend in San Jose, especially since the motives are unknown or scattered.

The summer season has historically been a period of sharp increases in street violence. Of the eight homicides since June 26, four have been classified as gang-related attacks. Overall, six of the city’s homicides have been tied to gang motives.

As police ready to ramp up their presence in the city’s most troubled areas, Garcia stressed the need for residents to get involved even with more officers headed their way.

“Even with the police department doing all this, citizen participation is key,” he said. “People shouldn’t be rationalizing to themselves that someone else is making the call. The more calls, the more flags are going to be raised, and we’re going to respond faster.”

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.

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(c)2015 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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